The historian Martha S. Jones has a nose for writing deeply researched histories that land in the middle of the rough and tumble of our national politics — sometimes deliberately, sometimes not.

“Birthright Citizens,” her 2018 scholarly study of the history of 19th-century debates about Black citizenship in America, arrived at a moment when some conservatives had floated the idea of ending the 14th Amendment’s guarantee that all people born in America are automatically citizens.

“Vanguard,” a political history of Black women that challenged popular narratives of the suffrage movement, was timed to coincide with the centennial of the 19th Amendment last August — but also happened to coincide with the election of Kamala Harris as America’s first female vice president.

Now, Jones, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, has signed an unusual four-book deal with Basic Books for a series of works that will address the tangled history of race, slavery and identity. And among them will be a “manifesto” on the role of history in the current racial reckoning.

Today’s history wars, she said in an interview, may only get more intense as the nation approaches the 250th anniversary of its founding in 2026 — and require more from historians, she argues, than the kind of rancorous scholarly fisticuffs that so often catch the public’s attention. Historians’ role, she argues, isn’t simply to impart expertise, but to consider what people want from history, and approach their reactions with empathy.

“If we take off our blinders, it’s no surprise that people coming to this history of racism, slavery and Jim Crow the first time are moved, troubled, even confused,” she said. “I’m not someone who wants to use history as a game of gotcha.”

(Jones is not the only historian who will be offering a manifesto on the subject. Farrar, Straus and Giroux recently signed the Princeton scholar Matthew Karp to write a book expanding on his recent, much-discussed Harper’s essay on the history wars, which argued that Americans on both sides demand too much from history politically.)

In addition to the manifesto, Jones’s books, acquired by Brian Distelberg of Basic, will include works that probe deep into the archives, including a family history described as a major new account of “the Black women’s Atlantic world,” from the Haitian Revolution into the 19th century, and a biography of Roger B. Taney, the Supreme Court chief justice who wrote the infamous Dred Scott ruling of 1857, which declared that Black Americans could never be citizens.

There are no publication dates set yet. But Jones said she was also already working on the first book, a reassessment of racial identity in the United States centered on the history and legacy of slavery’s sexual violence.

It’s a subject that has spawned a growing scholarly literature. It will also be a personal book, Jones said, drawing on her family history as the child of a Black father and white mother and as the great-great-granddaughter of an enslaved Black woman named Isabella Holley and the white man who enslaved and raped her.

Jones said the book will aim to shift how we understand Black biracial and mixed-race identities, colorism and “so-called light skin,” and passing, which she said weren’t peripheral issues but central to the idea of race itself.

Scholars, she said, have often treated those two intellectual strands as separate. “But as I have been able to dive into my own family archive,” she said, “I discovered through women in my family how interrelated those two stories are.”

“The women in my family have variously and in changing ways grappled with and confronted, but also suppressed and denied, the origins of the problem of light skin or colorism or passing in that early history of sexual violence,” she said.

Jones said it was a subject she has not always found easy to write about, but also one that has resonated with students with mixed identities of many different kinds. As with all of our difficult history, she said, “we have the opportunity in our own time to let it be a source of understanding and strength, rather than confusion and shame.”

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